Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.
Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.

Cauvery board can’t dictate what crops to grow, says Karnataka CM

Karnataka CM says any attempt to impose restrictions on farmers about the type of crop they can grow would invite strong protests from the farming community

Bengaluru: Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Tuesday said the proposed Cauvery water management authority should not dictate which crops the state must cultivate.

“My view is that once the water has been allotted, how we use it to grow crops should not be dictated by the board," Kumaraswamy said during an interaction with the media in Bengaluru.

The chief minister’s comments come a day after he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. He has also written a letter to the PM saying any attempt to impose restrictions on farmers about the type of crop they can grow “would, without an element of doubt, invite strong protests from the farming community, leading to serious law and order problems".

Though Kumaraswamy said that he would abide by the Supreme Court’s direction on the matter, he was of the opinion that inter-state disputes must be placed before both Houses of Parliament for discussion. “There is no question of going against the Supreme Court order, but we are only asking for the lapses in the scheme to be addressed."

In May, the SC had accepted a draft scheme by the centre to establish a Cauvery management authority, which will govern the river water distribution between Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry. The functions of the authority would be to ensure effective implementation of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s 2007 order, along with the modifications made to it by the SC in February.

Karnataka has stood firm against the formation of any such board or authority, as it could take control of the four main dams in Karnataka from where Cauvery water is released to neighbouring states.

In the century-old case, the SC had directed that Karnataka would have to release 177.25 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of water to Tamil Nadu, against the earlier 192tmcft.

“We are the upper riparian state and we will release water, but what happens if there is excess rain in Tamil Nadu? Where does that water go? There are no conditions imposed on them. If we do not release 178tmcft of water they can question us, but not on what we grow. We have to also send a report every 10 days on how much water we have released, these are unscientific," said Kumaraswamy.